An unnamed company improperly benefited from the conduct of a former Australian public servant working for the Department of Agriculture, the integrity commissioner has found.
The abuse of office by Jarrod Entwistle, a former biosecurity officer who received an intensive corrections order (ICO) for the criminal offence, has been confirmed by the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI).
ACLEI head Jaala Hinchcliffe published a report on Wednesday that included the findings of Operation Zelinsky. The report said that Entwistle had obtained confidential commercial information to benefit a company that imported building materials from China, which amounted to corruption.
“Operation Zelinsky shows how information obtained by commonwealth officers in the course of their duties may be extremely valuable to criminal entities and other external parties,” Hinchcliffe said.
“I am satisfied Mr Entwistle engaged in corrupt conduct, namely, abuse of office. By his own admission, he knew that what he was doing was wrong and could land him in gaol.”
The commission found that between 24 April 2016 and 10 October 2017 Entwistle accessed the Department of Agriculture’s electronic cargo management system, known as the Integrated Cargo System, 220 times to ‘enable the release and clearance of the company’s consignments quickly’.
The investigation also obtained evidence that Enwistle was to obtain a direct personal benefit once the company’s consignments were delivered, although this did not eventuate.
The conduct illegally benefited the company because it meant fewer storage costs and more efficient delivery of products.
In March 2021, Entwistle plead guilty to the corrupt conduct and was sentenced with abuse of public office as a result of the joint investigative efforts of the ACLEI, the national anti-gangs squad of the Australian Federal Police. In addition to the ICO, he received a $10,000 fine and was ordered to participate in 500 hours of community service.
“Unauthorised disclosures may have significant and long-lasting effects on agencies, their employees, governments at all levels, and the wider Australian community,” Hinchcliffe said.